Billy Ray Gist, age 88, passed away on Friday, September 15, 2023, at his home near Polson, Montana. He was born in Texhoma, Texas in 1934 to Everett and Mertle Gist and grew up across the line in Oklahoma.
Billy graduated from Texhoma High School and attended Panhandle State College before joining the Army and being stationed in Berlin, Germany. He continued his education, finally earning a degree in Education at Black Hills State College in Spearfish, S.D. Later he would go on and earn a master’s degree at Northern State College in Aberdeen, S.D.
Billy’s work history included a stint in a pulp/egg carton factory before finding the work he loved in education. Beginning in a rural school teaching all eight grades, he went on to teach elementary and high school classes, before becoming an elementary principal and retiring as a superintendent. His work took him from South Dakota, Montana, Alaska, and North Dakota over a period of 26 years. He loved the kids and helping the teachers teach.
In 1968, Billy married Sylvia Samuelson, which began an adventurous 55 years.
Billy is preceded in death by his parents and all of his siblings. He is survived by his wife Sylvia, four sons, seven grandchildren as well as numerous nieces and nephews.